Category Archives: Uncategorized

First part cut on the New CNC (Roland mdx-20)

I spent a little time today calibrating the desktop CNC mill I’m refurbishing.   A little writeup is available on my site if people are interested.   This CNC will be mainly used to make PCB’s for radio projects 😉


I spent a little time today in between IT Tasks at work tuning the little desktop CNC I acquired recently. One of the first objectives is to replace the spindle which has an unusual collect design with a more generic ER11 collet so I can use all the small PCB and milling bits I have rather than searching for bits with a 6mm shaft. As part of this upgrade I’ll be moving from the standard 10W DC motor to a brushless RC motor with a little more torque and a lot more speed which is essential when working with small bits.

First up was calibratiIMG_20150612_200817ng the axes, and it turns out the web site I found earlier with the gearing ratio’s on the roland was either incorrect or the one I have is different as all measurements were out by approximately 25%.

A lot of tuning later I have the following (recorded for prosperity):

Step Angle: 3.75 degrees/step
Travel per revolution: 2.36mm (a resolution of 0.02mm)

So the resolution isn’t as good as I’m used to, but sufficient for everything I’ll be using this mill for. There was a little backlash on both the X&Y Axis, which I’ve managed to resolve by tightening the draw wires. I’m really happy I could fix this as the TinyG controller doesn’t actually support backlash compensation.


The tuning took a lot longer than it should have as I kept trying to fix the 0.02mm backlash I was seeing without realising that was the resolution of the cnc… Doh!

With the mill all tuned and adjusted, it was time to follow the age old tradition where the first part cut on the CNC should be a part ‘for’ the CNC. In this case in Wax rather than Delrin so I can verify the sizesIMG_20150613_164822 and offsets, good thing too as one of the mounting holes is off by 1.75mm.

This also lead to a little bit of Yak shaving where I needed to render the slab of machine wax down to sizes suitable for this mill. I have a nice little pile of wax ingots now, and still have another batch of wIMG_20150613_164440ax to render down tomorrow.

VK100ANZAC Activation by WARS.


The Waverley Amateur Radio Society activation of VK100ANZAC will begin at 0000z (1000 AEST) 01 August 2015, with a commemorative ceremony at 0200z (1200 AEST), and continue until 2359z 05 August 2015 (0950 AEST 06AUG15).

As a part of the WIA’s ANZAC Centenary commemorations, the Waverley Amateur Radio Society will be commemorating the centenary of the raising of the 2nd Australian Division Signals Company on 04 August 1915 at Heliopolis, Cairo.  The company landed at Anzac on 20 August 1915 to establish communications between 5th Brigade (NSW) and 2nd Division HQ, and first saw action in support of the Battle of Hill 60 on 21 August 1915.

The company saw service in France and Belgium from 1916-1918. Today, the 2nd Division, an Army Reserve formation, is served in the signals role by the 8th Signals Regiment, the descendant of the 2nd Australian Division Signals Company.  Both the 2nd Division and the 8th Signals Regiment have their headquarters at Randwick.

Club members have been emailed detailed information about the activation via the club email list.

Mooshimeter (May meeting show-and-tell)


At the May meeting I gave a brief show-and-tell of one of my recent acquisitions.

It is a Mooshimeter, which is a bluetooth multimeter. As I demonstrated, it is a wireless multimeter that uses a smartphone as the user interface. Battery lifetime is something between 6 months and 1 year, and it doesn’t have an on-off switch – the smartphone just connects to it and it works.

Two simultaneous measurements are possible, so things like real-time power consumption can be measured and graphed. It also has a micro-sd slot so it can log measurements for months at a time. One of the more interesting Kickstarter’s I’ve backed!



WICEN Weekly News

WICEN NSW Inc News for Sunday the 7th of June 2015

WICEN is supporting a search and Rescue Exercise, or “SAREX” in southern New South Wales over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of June.

WICEN will be providing communications support for the True Grit event at Dargyl Farm in Lower Portland, near Windsor over this weekend.

WICEN Northern Rivers Region will be holding a meeting and training on Sunday June 14, at the clubrooms of the Summerland ARC in Richmond Hill, at 1000 hrs for 1030 start. The training will be on theory and setting up of antennas for short-distance HF communications, using high-incidence skywave (‘NVIS’), and all interested people are welcome.

The Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue Squad is holding the 27th NavShield over the weekend of 4th and 5th July, with WICEN teams deploying on the evening of Friday 3rd July.

The WICEN New South Wales’ website at includes contact details, including a contact form, useful links, and a printable membership form.

WICEN has a twitter account: @wicennsw
It can be viewed at:

Facebook users will find the official WICEN New South Wales page, and an informal national WICEN group.

WICEN ACT is part of the Canberra Region Amateur Radio Club, and supports events in the ACT and the surrounding region. The club’s website at includes details of both WICEN and general events.

WICEN Victoria is supporting the Mallee Rally, an off-road vehicle event at Sea Lake, about 50 km south of Euston, from the 6th to the 9th of June.

Coming events include:

True Grit othis weeked
Southern NSW SAREX on the 13th and 14th of June
Northern Rivers Meeting and Training on Sunday 14th of June
NavShield 4th and 5th of July

Prepared by Julian Sortland VK2YJS on behalf of the WICEN State Management Committee.

Space Weather Users Workshop

Space Weather Services, Australian Bureau of Meteorology (formerly IPS Radio and Space Services) is holding its inaugural Space Weather Users Workshop.

3 December 2015, 8:45am – 5:00pm
300 Elizabeth St Sydney, Level 15 (Bureau’s NSW Offices)
Free (lunch and refreshments provided)
Registration closes
31 August 2015


This one-day workshop will provide an opportunity to hear from expert speakers, owners and operators of susceptible technological systems, and other users of space weather services.

The workshop will also provide the opportunity to tour the Australian Space Forecast Centre, learn more about the Bureau’s space weather services, and to provide feedback on existing and future services.


Enquiries can made at +61 2 9213 8000 or

Some subsidised accommodation will be available for those travelling from outside the Sydney area. Further information on accommodation and travel will be provided in the near future.

Port to Port Mountain Bike Race – Newcastle

Ros & Raffy supported this WICEN event for several days whilst I only participated in the final Sunday since this was identified as the day with the greatest need. I was allocated the checkpoint downwind of the Belmont Sewer works located in some serious mud! (?newbie)

As this was my first WICEN event and my first serious portable excursion I spent some time gearing up and was quite pleased with the eventual result. It was great fun to test the equipment in the field. All of the equipment worked as planned. Given the inclement weather on the Sunday the necessity of some form of shelter was reinforced. Unfortunately the location was quite tight and as the photograph reveals the supporting poles for my shelter were situated in one of the mud puddles. Despite this all equipment was protected from excessive rain as was the operator!


A mobile radio with a gain antenna on the top of a 5 metre squid pole powered by a couple of 18Ah batteries that had spent the last year powering some medical equipment meant that I had unfettered access to the Newcastle WICEN repeater. Simplex operation to base was also possible.

The riders showed an unusual sense of enthusiasm for the ride despite their universal brown and bedraggled appearance. I hope that they all were able to bask in the glow of achievement at the end of the day.

I have the sense that Newcastle will be calling again next year……..



Ros VK2FROS & Raffy VK2RF at the Newcastle Port to Port Bike Race

Ros & I participated in the Wicen supported Mountain Bike Race in Newcastle.

Weather was overcast and drizzly and raining at times.  Riders were amazingly fit, I think over 300 started and most finished the 4 days race. At the end they were thoroughly mud covered! We didn’t record any medical casualties although a couple of  mechanical failures were repaired with the aid of my trusty hex key set!

Port to Port Mountain Bike Race Website



p2p2015-RosVK2FROS-Ros at the Newcastle Port to Port Bike Race P2P2015-VK2RF-Raffy at the Newcastle Port to Port Bike Race P2P015-VKFROS- Ros at the Newcastle Port to Port Bike Race

Planetary Society Lightsail has gone quiet, they are now relying on a classic IT bug excuse!

27 May 2015

The planetary society launched a prototype lightsail last week, and it appears that a known defect may have got to them! The manufacturer advised that they may have a buffer problem about 2 days before they may have had a buffer problem! Although they continue to try and reset, they are now hoping for that classic IT excuse for crashed PC’s,  Servers, Databases, Networks etc… “Your [xxxxxx] crashed because it was impacted by a stray space particle”. Turns out this really happens, and it happens so frequently to unshielded devices like cubesats that they expect it to occur within 3 weeks!

You can still try and listen out for them on: 437.435 MHz, AX.25, FSK, 9600, call sign KK6HIT.


Lots more info available at Lightsail Mission Control

And here is some possible viewing times over Sydney for the next week. Unfortunately the chances of seeing it at the moment are tiny! If the sail does unfold it is expected to be very bright.

Start Max altitude End
Date, Local time Az Local time Az El Local time Az
27-May 18:00 NW
18:05 NE
70° 18:10 SE
28-May 17:47 NW
17:52 SSW
88° 17:57 SE
29-May 17:34 NW
17:39 SW
67° 17:44 SE
30-May 17:21 NW
17:26 SW
51° 17:31 SE
31-May 17:08 NW
17:13 SW
40° 17:18 SE
1-Jun 16:55 WNW
17:00 SW
32° 17:05 SE
2-Jun 16:42 WNW
16:47 SW
26° 16:52 SE